Placing the onus on schools for safety of students on their premises, the CBSE today issued new security-related guidelines to be implemented by the institutions, failing which they would face derecognition. The guidelines come amid increased concerns about safety of students in school premises following the killing of a seven-year-old student in a Gurgaon school and the rape of a five-year-old girl by a school peon in Delhi. Safety audits, installation of CCTV cameras, police verification, psychometric evaluation, constitution of parent-teacher-students committees to address safety needs of the students and taking regular feedback from parents are among the measures prescribed by the board. “The onus for safety and security of children in school campus shall solely lie upon the school authorities. It is a fundamental right of a child to engage and study in an environment where he/she feels safe and is free from any form of physical or emotional abuse or harassment,” the CBSE directive states.
It also says that access to the school building by outsiders should be controlled and visitors monitored. “Training should be provided to the school staff to address their responsibilities to protect children from any form of abuse,” the directive says. “Any violation/lapses with regard to safety and well being of children in school campus would invite appropriate action including the disaffiliation of the school as per the provisions under affiliation by-laws of the board,” it adds. The schools have also been asked to constitute separate committees for redressal of grievances of the public, staff, parents and students, an Internal Complaints committee on sexual harassment, and committees under POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offence) Act, 2012. “Details of the these committees along with contact details shall be displayed prominently on school notice board and conspicuously on the school website for information of all stakeholders,” the communication sent to schools says.
Ensuring employment of support staff only from authorised agencies and maintenance of proper records, is another one of the guidelines. The CBSE last Saturday formed a panel to probe whether the student’s death in Gurgaon occurred due to negligence on the part of the school authorities and if the school had adopted all safety measures as per CBSE affiliation by-laws. The panel’s report, which is to be submitted within 30 days, will also dwell on whether the authorities reported the incident to police and the district education officer, besides the circumstances leading to the death of the student.